Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche

The lettuces sat provocatively amongst all the other spring greens and seasonal vegetables……some with frilly leaves, some with soft, buttery looking leaves and tender hearts. There were curly leaves, pointed leaves and then there were baby oak leaf lettuces, compact and tightly furled……sitting snuggly next to some tiny “baby gems” were the prettiest gem lettuces I’d seen in a long while……Ruby Baby Gems……they had crinkly leaves and a subtle rosy glow; beckoning me with promises of crunchy salads, sandwich fillings and bread-free wraps, I popped a couple in my basket along with a bunch of spring onions.


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche

I love baby gem lettuces – they are perfect salad leaves and they also braise beautifully. The French braise them in vegetable (or chicken) stock with pearl onions and peas; served this way with chopped fresh mint, it’s an elegant and softy delicate accompaniment to all sorts of roast dinners. I’ve shared a recipe for these French style peas on Lavender and Lovage before, here: Petits Pois à la Française with Mint  are a delicious combination of peas, onions and lettuce which are gently poached in a buttery sauce with crème fraîche and vegetable stock; this classic French recipe is a wonderful way to serve tender little peas, petits pois.


Braised Peas and Lardons with Spring Onions

Today’s recipe for Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche is a more substantial version of the French recipe above; the salty lardons add a wonderful twist and the spring onions braise alongside the baby gem lettuces adding an extra taste and texture dimension to this elegantly rustic dish. I made this for the two of us the other day as a light luncheon dish, we ate it with crusty bread which was dunked and dipped in the creamy juices. It can be served as an accompaniment too, of course, and when served that way it serves four people with ease.


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche

Serve this delicious recipe as part of your Sunday roast this weekend and I can guarantee your family (and friends) will be asking for you to make it again. It’s very easy to make it vegetarian friendly, just omit the lardons (bacon) and add some extra shallots to thicken the sauce if you wish. Garnish the dish with fresh mint when it is in season. You must make sure that your frying pan (or wok) is large enough to take all the vegetables in one layer, they cook much better this way and it stops the lettuces from disintegrating  and losing their shape as they cook.


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche

I’m back up “North” at the moment, so look out or some seasonally and locally inspired recipes whilst I’m home….oh yes, if ruby gem lettuces aren’t available, then normal baby gems are suitable in this recipe, as are Cos and Romaine. Do let me know if you make this recipe and have a wonderful weekend, Karen 


Baby Gem Lettuce and Spring Onions

Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche

A luxurious twist on a classic French dish, these ruby baby gem lettuces are braised in a buttery sauce with bacon, shallots, spring onions and crème fraîche. Serves four as an indulgent accompaniment or for two people as a main meal with crusty bread.

Ingredients

  • 100g smoked bacon lardons
  • 4 shallots (peeled and finely diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely minced)
  • 25g salted butter
  • 2 ruby baby gem lettuce (cut into quarters lengthways)
  • bunch of spring onions, about 8 to 10 (trimmed and root end cut off)
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 100g fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Note

A luxurious twist on a classic French dish, these ruby baby gem lettuces are braised in a buttery sauce with bacon, shallots, spring onions and crème fraîche. Serves four as an indulgent accompaniment or for two people as a main meal with crusty bread.

Directions

Step 1 Put the lardons, shallots and garlic into a large frying pan that can take all of the lettuce and spring onions in a single layer, and heat over a gentle heat until the fat begins to run – turn up the heat and fry until the bacon is crisp and the onions and garlic are cooked.
Step 2 Add the butter to the pan, melting it over a gentle heat, then add the spring onions and cook until they are soft and cooked.
Step 3 Add the baby gem lettuce quarters and the stock, then continue to cook until the baby gems are soft but still retain their shape – turn them over half way through cooking.
Step 4 Add the peas and simmer until the peas are cooked – then spoon the spring onions, baby gems and peas onto a serving patter and add the crème fraîche to the bacon and shallot stock – simmer until the sauce has reduced and has thickened.
Step 5 Spoon the bacon and crème fraîche sauce over the baby gems, spring onions and peas and serve as an accompaniment or as a light supper or luncheon dish with crusty bread.


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche


Braised Ruby Baby Gem Lettuce with Spring Onions, Peas, Bacon and Crème Fraîche

Some other Lavender and Lovage accompaniments and sides:

Sticky Roast Chantenay Carrot Medley with Pomegranate Molasses


Sticky-Roast-Chantenay-Carrot-Medley-with-Pomegranate-Molasses-51-150x150

Sel la Vie Tomatoes and Twice Baked Potato, Cheese and Bacon Gratin


Potato-and-Bacon-Gratin-9-150x150

Roasted “Tartan Veggies” with Smoked Sea Salt, Honey and Thyme


Tartan-Veggies-11-150x150

~ Peperonata ~ Rustic Italian Pepper Stew


Peperonata-18-150x150

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